Helen Mincher previews this SSE fellows gift guide, featuring a range of our fellows’ social enterprises that produce beautiful, thoughtful products or services that we think will make great presents this year.
We know the festive season will be different this year. Lockdown V2 is driving shoppers online more than ever before. But the pandemic has also brought communities together to support each other, buy from each other’s local businesses to protect livelihoods and local character. We welcome this trend for buying from small businesses that produce to fill need, create local jobs and maintain heritage crafts.
Buying from social enterprises allows you not only to source beautifully crafted, thoughtful gifts, but also to fuel the social missions of the organisations you spend with. Their profits are reinvested back into communities and solving some of our toughest problems.
SSE fellows are a special breed of social entrepreneurs, inspirational, resilient and diverse; often with direct experience of the problem they are solving for. They have all been through our competitive application and panel process. You can be confident that when you buy from an SSE fellow you are contributing to societal change and you are endorsing a model that believes people and planet are as important as profit.
For the foodie…..
– Nourish with Nina has created a range of utterly delicious chocolate truffles that, despite tasting thoroughly decadent, are high raw and vegan. So practically a health food?! Nina has yet to set up an online shop but you can buy through her Facebook page and be assured of a professional product and delivery.
– If the word ‘chocolate’ made your ears prick up, then you must also check out Harry Specters for their award winning ranges of chocolate gifts that are creating employment opportunities for people with autism.
– Bounceback Food has created a beautiful recipe book of ‘Dishes from around the world’. All proceeds help to fight food poverty. You can also buy gift vouchers for cookery classes that are running online and face to face (Covid restrictions permitting)
– Organic chutneys jams and relishes always make good stocking fillers. Scotswood Garden sells a great selection made from produce from this much loved community garden in Newcastle. The Gateway Collective also has a beautiful, home-grown selection.
– If you are pulling together your own hampers, then produce from The Smoke Folk will make them really stand out. Or you can buy one of their ready-made deluxe hampers for £75.
– Sacred Bean Coffee are also offering hampers for coffee lovers.
For the ale connoisseur…..
For furry friends and their owners….
– A charming brand with gifts for dogs and their owners. Canine Perspective is working to help people recover from trauma using rescue dogs.
Starting or growing a project like these? Find out how we can support you
– Spy missions and spy training activities from Spy Squad offer an immersive and exciting gift option for children.
– Sense Abilities have a range of sensory bags and toys.
– Bormoi have developed delightful play and activity boxes.
For the accessory lover….
– Kids club Kampala has a range of handcrafted gifts. It started out as a project in a slum and now supports over 4,000 children everyday in Uganda. They train women in various crafts so they can generate a sustainable income for their families.
– B-18 Leather has a range of leather crafted purses, clutches and credit card holders in unusual designs and colours.
For the interiors obsessed….
– Agni meditation candles not only look good quality but also offer a great way to practice mindfulness
– More beautiful Candles and bath salts by Love Well UK who support women escaping all coerced forms of the sex trade.
– We are big fans of Woodshed Workshop. Stunning hand crafted furniture from recycled or reclaimed wood. Order a bespoke object or browse their shop for up-cycled, hand crafted one-of-a-kind items.
– Check out Truth Brush for a range of eco bamboo toothbrushes. Beautifully designed, simply packaged – these would look great next to the Kings Grooming Evolution eau de toilette on the bathroom shelf…..
– Kitty’s launderette is an actual launderette – yes, launderette washing vouchers would make for a pretty dull present – but they sell beautiful soaps and artwork made by local artists that value this community space in the heart of Liverpool. Worth checking out!
For those really difficult people to buy for….
– Socks. Standard. When you don’t know what to buy someone, buy them socks. But not any old pair of socks… How about bold, fun, stripy bamboo socks from Stand4Socks. This great organisation donate a pair of socks to the homeless with every pair sold. I have my eye on the Gallagher brothers bundle.
– Hand sanitizer – quite possibly not your first thought when you are scratching your head for the perfect gift, but given the recent shortages, then who wouldn’t welcome commercial grade hand gel. What’s more, SanHanz use the proceeds from sales to support local charities.
– Lots of great gift ideas and price points from the Blurt Foundation who aim to promote positive mental health.
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For the new homeworkers…
With dressing down the new, err, going out, Hopeful Traders offer a great range of graphic tees, hoodies and accessories for those grappling with their home-working wardrobe. They collaborate with creatives who are affected by homelessness or mental illness, with the sales supporting their collaborators and their chosen charities.
– CD UK have a similar mission and a simple range of fairtrade organic tee shirts in easy to wear colours.
For bees lovers…
– Pollenize aims to combat pollinator decline. They have an inspiring range of bee-related gifts from beeswax wraps and seed kits to unusual vases, glassware and artwork
– Lots of great gift ideas for both children and grown ups at Bee The Change including bee hive adoption and personalised bee activity boxes for kids.
– Lots of great eco-gardening based gift ideas at The Crop Club (as featured in the Guardian don’t you know)
– Seeds of Hope sell wildflower seeds. A nice compact website with lots of detail about their mission; to help people with mental health problems through Recovery based horticultural therapy.
– Would a worm farm float their boat? Lots of great options and price points from The Urban Worm
For the fitness fanatic…
– Treat your loved one to online yoga and meditation classes. Or really push the boat out and book them onto one of 4 Motion’s recommended retreats.
Lots of thoughtful, quirky, gift ideas here that make your money work really hard. I’d love to know your recommendations of great gift ideas from social enterprises and gifts that keep on giving!